Gas Station Tacos – Fine Dining in the Oil Field

My job sometimes requires me to travel into small, remote towns,

Breakfast tacos at Stripes

where there are not many stores or restaurants, but there may be a very large number of people working because of the boom in industry that’s going on. Work starts early around here – in the summer, the sun is up by 6 a.m. or so, and you can’t be wasting daylight driving to the job site or the field location. People around here WORK. Drilling rigs, pulling units, and welders work around the clock.  And one thing that fuels early work hours is coffee – hot, good, and served in VERY large cups.

One place we’ve found that is great for stopping by in the early mornings is the Stripes Convenience Store chain. They are located in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. In addition to being able to get gas and ice for the cooler, of course, they also have quite a range of products that are handy for those of us who might need to head out to the field before the hotel’s coffee stop is open. The ones I have stopped by are always brightly lit, clean, and CROWDED. You will see a lot of men in work boots and sturdy long-sleeve shirts with logos like “Turner Fishing Tools” or “Halliburton” or “ConocoPhillips.”

They have a nice large coffee bar,

Fresh fruit bar at the convenience store!

with several choices of brews as well as real, cold half-and-half (my requirement), a few flavorings, and assorted Coffee-Mate creamers. Best of all, though, is that you can get a hot breakfast. These are not instant, watery, steam-table eggs. There’s a cook in the back, constantly whipping up fresh eggs and the smell of grilling ham wafts from the kitchen, like any other good taqueria. I like my breakfast taco egg and crisp bacon, but you can find ham, chorizo, and traditional egg-and-potato. By 7 a.m., workers, mostly men, are standing in line for food and to pay at the register.

In addition to the food, the stores almost always have a salsa/condiment bar, and a fruit bar. The fruit bar is also very popular, and gives a nice change from the heavy foods you often find in places that are interested in good, cheap, and fast.

Salsa, anyone?

While I wouldn’t consider Stripes a destination for going out to eat, of course, if you happen to be traveling through these states and don’t have time to stop  for a sit-down, avoid the burger chains and grab a taco, a plate of asada, and some fresh fruit. And, of course, coffee. Stripes has photographs on their web site for you can download for  ‘bona fide’ news stories, but the Terms of Use excludes internet blogs from authorized use, so you’ll have to make do with my iPhone pictures.

Categories: Food, Travel, Work and Jobs

Tags: , , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. That all looks really yummy. All we get here is a horrible sandwich that has a “use by” date stamped on it.

  2. Having relocated (temporarily) to Odessa, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how good the tacos are at Stripes. In fact I think I’ll get one on my way to Notrees this morning.

    Enjoy your posts.

    • You are going to Notrees? On purpose??

      If you are headed more south, stop at Panchitos on 1444 S. Grant, a few blocks before you get to I-20. Open for breakfast and lunch only. I get them to go when I head out towards Barstow or Pecos. I wrote a blog about it a couple weeks ago.

  3. Sounds like an honest though acerbic ramble about my old home town which I left in 1060’s . At that time there were 15000 in town but the farms ( water table) was way down, NGas couldnt be used to run the pumps and the plunder by Billie Sol Estes had broken most decent hard working Farmers/Businesses. Not much but a smattering of Oil and Gas activity then Mostly deep gas caused excitement there.
    As analytically talented as you are ,surely you know there are some great folks there , some trapped by an economy that really needs a shot in the arm that will stay in the City of Pecos and some city fathers that would love to hear how you could help be a part of the solution. I am truly sorry someone threatened you but I must say , the old boulder courts were I swam nearly every day as a youngster, and believe me, they were old then but the water in the deep pool was cool and fresh.
    Oh PS Ever heard about Bens Spanish Inn . Sadly missed by me and host of classmates .

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